NAAA recently submitted comments in favor of an unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) market survey the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing. Currently, some unmanned aircraft systems’ operations are being allowed to operate beyond 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 107 through approved waivers and exemptions granted by the FAA. The FAA believes that to further integrate these expanded operations, further rulemaking will be necessary.
To support revisions to current regulations and the development of new regulations, the FAA plans to survey experts in industry and academia on UAS. The survey seeks to collect data from industry leaders on the common fatigue-related practices for the operation of UAS and the minimum knowledge, skills, abilities, testing and staffing procedures required for operating UAS. To view the FAA’s proposal or to comment, click here.
NAAA wrote to the FAA in support of the current survey proposal and urged the agency to survey pilots and operators involved in manned operations who operate in the same airspace as UAS. NAAA has long advocated for UAS operators to have the equivalent of a manned aircraft pilot’s license. Obtaining a pilot’s license is the best way to ensure that UAS operators understand the big picture of how they fit into the national airspace (NAS).
NAAA believes that expanding the survey to include those who are experts in manned aircraft operations around UAS would be a way for the FAA to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information collected and ensure the safest approach for all NAS users. This expanded survey should include pilots and operators of aerial application aircraft along with the other airspace users who fly at low altitudes below the 400-foot ceiling where UAS operate.
While acknowledging the potential uses of UAS, NAAA reminded the FAA of the importance of safe, reliable aerial application of crop inputs to U.S. food production and public health. NAAA’s comments are available here.